Monday, 25 February 2008

Herodes Britannicus: Funding Excavations in Laconia

The BSA struggled to raise money for its work. The £500 grant from the British government in effect covered the director's stipend. Special funds were created for specific projects, notably the Laconian Exploration Fund. George Macmillan, as chairman of the Managing Committee, had made an appeal in February 1906 for a sum 'not than £700 or £800'.

At the Annual Meeting of Subscribers on October 27, 1908. Lord Cromer, the president, commented:
Lastly, let me say something of the financial outlook. You may remember that, at a period before the Government had decided to make a grant of £500, for which we are all very grateful, Lord Sherborne advised those who were interested in the Institution to fall back on the generosity of some British Herodes Atticus. Well, gentlemen, during the course of last year a most welcome Herodes Britannicus vel Americanus appeared in the person of Mr. Astor, who gave the munificent and wholly unsolicited gift of £1,000 for the Spartan excavations. (Cheers)
William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) was owner of Hever Castle in Kent (and former owner of Clivedon House in Buckinghamshire). He had become a British subject in 1899.

The Eurotas valley from Mistra. © David Gill.

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